Pre Employment Screening: Hiring Managers Shift Focus to Save Money

[fa icon="calendar'] Apr 10, 2015 9:06:00 AM / by Deborah Lechner

Before the rise in popularity of pre employment screening, getting the right candidate was more art than science. Today, hiring managers are making the shift to pre employment screening—specifically physical abilities testing—to facilitate better hiring, and above all, reduce costs.

Here’s why:


Finding the right employee out of a potential pool of tens of thousands isn’t an easy—or cheap—undertaking. Expenses associated with hiring might include travel, hotel and meals, training, and hours spent by hiring managers to coordinate and screen dozens of applicants from resume to in-person meetings. Then, if you hire the wrong person…you have to start all over again.

The Harvard Business Review reports that as much as 80% of employee turnover is due to bad hiring decisions.[1] Fortunately, for high-demand jobs, pre employment screening can help narrow the field of good candidates to great ones, and save companies money and time by helping them hire the right person the first time.


High on the list of Forbes’ rundown of top trends in hiring for 2015 is the ever-present and apparently ever-widening skills gap.[2] A recent survey by Robert Half showed that one-third (36%) of 1,400 executives surveyed felt the top factor leading to a failed hire, aside from performance issues, was a poor skills match. The second most common reason (30%) was unclear performance objectives.[3] Introducing physical abilities tests into the hiring process can increase a hiring manager’s ability to find a suitable skills match the first time, reducing costs in continual searching and re-training when unsuitable hires leave.

Finding a reputable provider that can provide well-documented, peer-reviewed testing procedure is the key, however. Look for a company that tailors its tests to the specific task to be performed by workers, and one that does its own research and publishes its own findings, rather than re-stating the work of others.  


It makes a lot of sense if you think about it: hiring more appropriate candidates, those proven by testing to be right for the job physically, leads to a lessened likelihood of injury down the road. The direct costs of a workers’ compensation claim are pretty straightforward, generally including medical costs and the cost of any wage replacement payments (indemnity). But there are a number of hidden costs to a business that can push the number higher. For example, a fracture on average generates direct costs of $50,000.  The indirect costs, however, are estimated at $55,000, and can include things like wage costs related to time lost through work stoppage, time spent by internal resources who have to handle the claim, the cost of hiring a replacement worker, loss of productivity, and potentially the cost to replace equipment damaged by the accident or issue that caused the claim.[4]

Here again, pre employment screening, especially physical abilities testing, can help, by offering a higher level of confidence that the candidate hired is quantifiably able to safely perform his or her job, without an increased risk of injury.

Overall, the best quote we’ve seen to sum up the reason you should be using pre employment screening to find and hire the best candidates is this: “If you’re not hiring your next work-related injury, you’re not hiring your next financial problem.”[5] So, be safe, be sure, or be ready to be financially sorry.

When are Physical abilities test best performed







Deborah Lechner

Written by Deborah Lechner

Deborah Lechner, ErgoScience President, combines an extensive research background with 25-plus years of clinical experience. Under her leadership, ErgoScience continues to use the science of work to improve workplace safety, productivity and profitability.